Dad wouldn't be seen dead
without a hat.
Farm hat, summer hat, town hat
even when he had hair.

Hat on an angle, hat on horse,
hat in the truck with dogs.

We fished by stealth
stalked trout
with a spear and a light.
He wore his hat in the dark.

A mile apart by metal road
my grandmother lived
on her half of the farm.
No chance meetings, not even
a skyline sighting.

She lay in wait in town
from the haberdashery
as he walked up the street.
She came out as if by accident.
Hand frail, and clasping
the front of her coat,
she gave a coy look
from the bags of her bloodhound eyes—
the whole air stopped

he raised his hat, went past.

Marty Smith was born in the 1950s. She grew up on a remote and wild hill country farm in north Wairarapa, cleared from the native bush by her great-grandfather in the 1800s.

She teaches at Taradale High School in Hawkes Bay. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University and is working on a series of poems which move sometimes in the racing world and sometimes in the war between her father and almost everything.

Smith comments: 'My father didn’t speak to my grandmother for eighteen years, then he died first.'

Poem source details >



Marty Smith Book Council Writers profile
New Zealand Electronic Text Centre: Sport 33
Turbine 04 , 05 06
Landfall 211